Stella Hayes Costner

STELLA COSTNER'S 100th birthday was celebrated with a parade at Wilkes Assisted Living in North Wilkesboro.

A local woman’s 100th birthday was celebrated with a birthday parade in her honor on June 27 at Wilkes Assisted Living in North Wilkesboro, where she now lives.

Stella Hayes Costner’s family and friends weren’t able to hold a traditional birthday party for her because of the COVID-19 pandemic, so they participated in the birthday parade instead. She turned 100 on July 2.

Also in the parade were local law enforcement in patrol cars, a North Wilkesboro Fire Department fire truck, tow trucks and a couple of classic cars. Vehicles in the parade were decorated with balloons and happy birthday posters.

People wished Mrs. Costner a happy birthday and delivered birthday presents, including birthday cupcakes, as they passed by.

Mrs. Costner, the daughter of Roy and Effie Campbell Hayes, was born July 2, 1920, in the Brushy Mountain community. She attended Piney Ridge School on the Brushies.

She and John “Junior” Costner, drove to Independence, Va., to be married on Dec. 27, 1939. Mrs. Costner recalled that there was snow in the ground and no heater in the car.

The soon bought a home on what now is Bethany Church Road in the Brushy Mountain community, where they raised their children and operated their apple and peach orchard business. The Costners were among the first commercial peach growers on the Brushies.

When Costner Orchards was at its peak, they often picked up to 100 bushels of peaches per day without any hired help. They were instrumental in starting the Brushy Mountain Apple Festival and were the festival’s grand marshals in 1985.

Mrs. Costner is a lifelong member of Bethany Baptist Church. Stella had a son with special needs and devoted much of her life to caring for him until his death in 2017.

After the death of her husband in 1998, she moved from her home in the Brushy Mountain community to Moravian Falls to be near the nursing home where her son, the late Phil Costner, had gone to live. He died in 2017.

She drove to the nursing home almost every day until she gave up her driver’s license when she was 93.  A family spokesman said Mrs. Costner is a wonderful example of a Christian lady and loving mother, aunt, grandmother, great-grandmother and great-great grandmother.

Stella has two daughters, Martha McBride and Helen Anderson, married to Bobby Anderson. She has five granddaughters, Darlene Shumate, married to Donnie Shumate; Tammy Jones, married to Johnny Jones; Robin Anderson; Regina Mathis, married to Derrick Mathis; and Amy Suggs, married to Robbie Suggs.

She has seven great-grandchildren, Darren Shumate, married to Lize Shumate; Dana Felts, married to Shane Felts; Garrett Griffin; Brittany Mathis; Dalton Mathis; Leanna Watson, married to Ben Watson; and Cailyn Suggs, and two step great-grandchildren, Sunshine Jones and Tonya Severt, who is married to Daniel Severt.

Stella also has two great-great-grandchildren, Carys and Gabriel Felts, as well as six step-great-great grandchildren, Matthew Ellis, Andrew Ellis, Chandler Ellis, Brandon Welborn, Mckinley Severt and Rylan Severt.

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